tv Reaction to United States v. Texas Oral Argument CSPAN April 19, 2016 2:09am-2:16am EDT
conflating two different topics, one which is austerity. austerity is something we've seen in other country where they've had budget crises forced on them because the debt got out of control and they had to make immediate and abrupt measures to get their deficits back down. we luckily, have not had to be in the situation. markets that, despite when we recap take on the world economy, we are still .een as the safe haven that means we don't have this time pressure to get control of our deficit and debt immediately. we have the luxury of time. we can think about medium and longer term challenges that means instead of worrying about austerity or cutting program or spending or raising taxes immediately at times that would harm the economy, we can put in medium and long-term plans. but because our budget doesn't focus on that, because that's not how we operate, we end up doing short-term measures that are counterproductive for the economy and fiscal policy. it also opens up the door for all sorts of budget gimibblings -- all sorts of budget gimmicks all the time. the time you hear people
saying, here are all the savings we will have in our budget. for the first time, we are going to spend more cut taxes more. in subsequent years, don't worry, the savings will come tax increase will come. those will get phased in later. but for the first year we're going to make it easy on ourselves. guess what, the next year they do it all over again. it's always pushed out. or you do something today and the offsets are paid 10 years later. so, the windows allow for some real gimmicks. anyhow, i think those people who are thinking about budget process reforms should really think about the time horizon and the longer-term issues. there are a bunch of different ways that that can be done. i am certainly not going to mention all of them, but just a couple from easiest to hardest. first, make sure our budgetary numbers are stretched out. let me also say, i think this issue is more important now because we are in, it has been going on for a while, but as the aging of the baby boomers are happening, we really in the past and now we are feeling the brunt
of it, but we should have been looking at all the promises we are making the have long-term consequences in our budget. so intergeneration promises, pay as you go programs that we know are going to get much larger with the baby boomers moving into retime. -- move into retirement. here we are. the numbers are exploding and we knew it was going to happen, but we miss that opportunity to get of issue.of that kind so, i think the first thing is just more information. the budgets are such dense documents. weeding through them, it really matters what you put on summary tables. i think whenever possible, we should put more long-term projections, cbo long-term projections is one of my favorite documents. i'm sure you all love the document as well. when there's new policy proposals, i think looking at the long-term effects of those is very important. quite regularly when we look at offsets for something, something that's going to pay for a new policy, we end up having saving mechanisms that would kind of be flat or maybe temporary, wouldn't last that long, when
what you really want are the kinds of policies that will save more over time and grow with time. you want to have those projections included. third, we could think about having requirements that don't permit fiscal worsening over the long-term. you could actually put in budget them and strengthen put in more about what you are not allowed to do today that would make the fiscal situation deteriorate over time. fiscal targets for the long-term . i'm a big fan of that because i am not worried about the deficit this year. i am worried about the fact that up indefinitely. i would like to think about the 10 to 20 year targets. finally, i have always wondered why we allow ourselves to have a budget that promises more spending down the road than we are willing to support today. if we have promises in our budget that say spending in the 38% ofwill be 25% to
gdp, but we are all he willing to collect revenue at 19% or 20% today, we are committing future taxpayers and future generations to support a budget that's much larger than we're willing to support. i'm not saying whether the government should be bigger or smaller. that will be a fight that goes on forever. but i think the notion that we shouldn't be able to pre-commit resources that are so flexibly above what we are willing to pay today would be a nice budget limit to put in place. my final point is, budget process, it does seem like a dry, arcane topic. there are of improvement. the fights on budget process are as vicious as any other policy fights there are. this is not an easy issue. i think one of the big goals is, don't try to put budget process reforms that stack the playing field for one side or the other. areblicans and democrats going to continue to disagree
about the size of government, the best measures to get there, their priorities. you don't want a budget process that dictates those outcomes in one way or another. you need budget process reforms that both sides will see as fair and that will hopefully, make it easier to make some of these needed improvements. >> thank you, maya. we have shuffled seats a little bit, but i think the plan was for stewart to go next. >> thank you, chelsea. as maya just emphasized, process is important. rules are important. rules shape the way the budget happens and they shape other things. as the chair said, roughly 2/3 of the spending in the united states right now is in the form of mandatory programs, which have a very different rules in terms of how they are developed compared to the rest of the budget. and the social security and medicare programs, major entitlements for the elderly, the entireghly half federal budget itself.
that is really important in terms of its implications. that means that these programs are on auto pilot, whereas major and important programs like defense, like money for the homeless, for students, and so on, are argued over every year in the traditional budget process itself. meanwhile, these other entitlement programs, sort of like the mighty mississippi, keep rolling on. without any -- unless there are major changes made in those programs. the national budgeting roundtable was also mentioned -- that the three of us were on. it is an organization that kicks around ideas on the budget process and we argue over them and then, some of them are put together in proposals, some of which you have in your documents. and one of the things that is not yet